Essay on Pay as you browse

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Words: 8119
Pages: 33

WWW 2011 – Session: E-commerce

March 28–April 1, 2011, Hyderabad, India

Pay as you Browse: Microcomputations as
Micropayments in Web-based Services
Ghassan O. Karame

Aurélien Francillon

ˇ
Srdjan Capkun

Dept. of Computer Science
ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Dept. of Computer Science
ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Dept. of Computer Science
ETH Zurich, Switzerland

karameg@inf.ethz.ch

afrancil@inf.ethz.ch

ABSTRACT

in Internet revenues was not solely caused by the general economic recession but also finds roots in the online advertisement model itself. Studies have reported that users do not trust online advertisements [2]; some users further use tools to block them.
Given this, several websites are set to charge for online content. For instance, News Corporation has declared that it will start charging for news content by 2011 [1]. Several other online businesses are likely to follow the same move to increase their revenues. This shift is, however, expected to alienate a considerable number of online users.
While users might be willing to pay for low-cost specialized online products such as music and movies, they are not keen on accepting subscription charges to read online news, to sign in Facebook, etc. In fact, studies have shown that only a small fraction of users—almost three percent—are willing to pay to read online news [1, 3]. Users are also not willing to set up and frequently recharge accounts for each online commodity service that they use. These issues make many commodity websites reluctant to charge for content and/or registration. The challenge for most media and online businesses lies, therefore, in extracting revenues from their online content without alienating existing users.
In this paper, we consider this problem and we propose a new framework that enables websites to “charge” for content, thus increasing their revenues, without requiring subscription charges from their users. Our scheme somehow departs from current micropayment methods and offers online businesses an indirect form of remuneration—similar to the current advertisement model. In our scheme (Figure 1), a user wishing to access online content offered by a website does not need to register or pay to access the website; instead, he will accept to run some computations on behalf of the website in exchange for access to the content. After verifying the integrity of the results reported by the user, results of the computations are gathered by the service provider
(or by a broker) and sent to a distributed computing partner in exchange for a payment. The computations carried out by the user could correspond to those used in the multitude of available distributed computing platforms (such as SETI@home [4], distributed.net [5], etc.); alternatively, these computations could also be performed on behalf of governmental agencies, research labs and private industries.
Note that, similarly to the existing advertisement model, a third party could mediate the exchange between online services and their computing partners. However, unlike the targeted advertisement model where the (privacy-invasive) user profiling increases revenues, our framework does not

Currently, several online businesses deem that advertising revenues alone are not sufficient to generate profits and are therefore set to charge for online content. In this paper, we explore a complement to the current advertisement model; more specifically, we propose a micropayment model for nonspecialized commodity web-services based on microcomputations. In our model, a user that wishes to access online content offered by a website does not need to register or pay to access the website; instead, he will accept to run microcomputations on behalf of the website in exchange for access to the content. These microcomputations can, for example, support ongoing computing projects that have clear social benefits (e.g., projects relating to HIV,…